Mentor grows automotive industry presence with German acquisition

July 08, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
EDA tool vendor Mentor Graphics has for some time had a presence in the automotive technology market. The company is now expanding its expertise in this segment by the acquisition of XS Embedded GmbH, a German company with roots in automotive embedded systems.

XS Embedded, or XSe, was launched in 2010 as a management buy-out from Harman Becker Advanced Engineering, a subsidiary of the Harman Kardon group. The company, with headquarters in Villingen (Black Forest) has more than ten years of experience with automotive infotainment and connectivity projects and has provided engineering services for automotive OEMs in Europe, Japan and the US.

XSe's core competencies focus on the head unit where there is a merger of conventional automotive technology and fast-moving consumer electronics with gadgets such as smartphones and with dependencies on software domains that change at a rapid pace. XSe has xpertise in hardware and software technologies that can help carmakers to reduce the time-to-market for infotainment and connectivity products, claims General Manager Rainer Oder. Besides reducing time to market, its technology also allows tier ones and OEMs to optimise their hardware and software platform throughout the product life cycle.

Fig. 1: Mentor Graphics expands its Automotive portfolio: The blue boxes are covered by the XSe acquisition.

Oder expects that future ADAS (driver assistance) functions will increasingly be implemented in the head unit. Therefore, this domain will require enormous computing and graphics resources. One of the specific requirements to the electronics landscape in vehicles is its ability to boot up very fast - in the future, US legislation will mandate that, for instance, backup camera images be available within less than two seconds. Oder claims that XSe has the experience and expertise to optimise operating systems for fast boot sequences; the company has reference platforms ready that show how this can be implemented. It can be expected that some of this expertise might swap over the Genivi platform - Oder also is member of Genivi's board of directors.

Another core competency at XSe is high-performance graphics for future dashboard displays. Based on requests from the automotive industry, Oder predicts that future vehicles will be equipped with three high-resolution displays. At the takeover